Three new releases try their luck on the biggest opening weekend for the month of April. Well, besides that other weekend in April.
by Tim Briody
April 7, 2019
As I’ve stated before, the DC Extended Universe has always been the Goofus to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Gallant, but they’re learning. First, Aquaman enjoyed strong reviews and earned $335 million, second only to Wonder Woman among DC’s recent films, and now this weekend they unleash Shazam! perfectly timed between Marvel movies as Captain Marvel’s run is winding down and the rest of the month is going to be devoted to Avengers: Endgame.
Shazam! easily wins the weekend with a solid $53.4 million for the weekend. Starting out strong with a $20.5 million Friday as Kim Hollis mentioned yesterday (with $5.9 million coming Thursday night), it turns out that “if Big were a superhero movie” was the perfect premise for the character. Add in the strong reviews (91% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes) and the heavy advertising blitz, and no magic word was needed for a successful opening here.
With a budget reportedly in the $80-100 million range, Shazam! is off to a very strong start, and foreign grosses will definitely push it over that this weekend alone, though I wonder if overall it won’t play as well as other superhero films have internationally. Still, this is a going to be a solid in for Warner Bros. and has the month effectively all to itself until we get Endgame in three weekends.
Taking second is a remake of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, earning $25 million. After It exploded in 2017, it’s hardly a surprise that many King novels would get adaptations and/or updates, and the remake of the 1989 Pet Sematary is the first to arrive in theaters.
While nowhere near the runaway success of It (which was some weird lightning in a bottle; I don’t see the sequel, arriving later this year, coming anywhere close to It’s opening), Pet Sematary only cost $21 million so it was able to make its budget back in just a weekend, like any horror film worth its salt should. While marginally well reviewed (61% Fresh), Pet Sematary probably benefited most from the name recognition and being first in theaters post-It. I expect it to fall off quickly from here (again, like a horror movie) but Paramount will be very happy with the final outcome in a few weekends.
Dumbo falls to third place with $18.2 million, down 60% from opening weekend, and that’s a big problem. It’s got $76.2 million after two weekends, but I’m certain Disney was planning it to be much closer to, if not over, $100 million by this point. The Tim Burton film live action adaptation is apparently too weird for families (and perhaps got kneecapped a bit by Shazam! being an excellent family film), and now it’s definitely not going to hit its reported $170 million budget domestically. Internationally, it’s doing better, having crossed $200 million worldwide, but Disney is still going to be hurting from this one.
Jordan Peele’s Us continues to slide, down 58% from last weekend to $13.8 million and $152.3 million. It’s still on track to pass Get Out’s $176 million in a couple of weeks, which is fine, and remember, it only cost $20 million. The opening of Pet Sematary may have hurt it a little bit this weekend, but there’s still no worries for what will be 2019’s #2 movie by next weekend.
2019’s #1 movie for a couple more weeks continues the march towards $400 million as Captain Marvel adds $12.6 million in its fifth weekend, giving it $374.1 million to date. It should reach the magic number of $409 million which makes it the top Marvel film that’s not Black Panther or an Avengers movie.
The Best of Enemies is another opener this weekend, and comes in with just $4.5 million (though in just 1,750 theaters). The story of a school integration debate between a civil rights activist and a Klan leader in the 1970s (spoiler alert: it exists as a movie because there’s a face turn), the strong message and appealing leads (Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell) did not make for a compelling film, rating just 52% Fresh with reviewers. This is normally the sort of film that would get a later in the year awards push, which also indicates quality issues. Even with the low screen count, audiences weren’t buying, and thus the weak opening. The good news for STX is it only cost $10 million, and it should get that back by then end of its run.
Five Feet Apart earns $3.7 million in its fourth weekend and has $41.5 million to date. The teen romantic dramedy is one of the better performers of the first three months of the year, as it only cost $7 million to make.
Anti-abortion propaganda film Unplanned expands but still drops 50% to $3.2 million, giving it $12.2 million in two weekends. If it can get to $20 million, that would make it the second highest earner by a Pure Flix Entertainment release after God’s Not Dead ($60.7 million, second currently is God’s Not Dead 2 with $20.7 million).
Animated flop Wonder Park and animated hit How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World wrap up the top ten this week, with the former adding $2 million in its fourth weekend to give it $41.9 million total and the latter earning $1.9 million in its seventh weekend to give it $156.6 million. Between these and the LEGO Movie 2’s disappointment, it’s been a bit of a rough 2019 for animated entries, as if we’re all sort of waiting for Toy Story 4 later this year. Unless Detective Pikachu counts.
Your top 12 films this weekend earned $140.3 million, pretty close to last year’s $148.1 million when A Quiet Place opened to $50.2 million and the comedy Blockers earned $20.5 million.
Next weekend things get low key for a couple of weekends as we’ve got a slew of mid-tier releases with a Hellboy reboot, animated Missing Link, comedy Little and young adult romance After.